Wednesday, 3 September 2008

PGE considers new demand-response options

Portland General Electric (PGE), a vertically integrated electric utility, is looking for new demand-response options.

PGE, which serves approximately 813,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers in Oregon, has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to prospective third-party providers to supply capacity that could help PGE manage its load during periods of peak power demand by organising qualifying customers to temporarily reduce their use of electricity.

The utility, which has been working on finding ways to partner with its customers to help meet the demand for electricity in its service territory, is targeting demand response programmes, which are designed to be activated on short notice to reduce the demand for electricity during times of stress on the grid.

The RFP calls for proposals for 50 megawatts (MW) of demand response peak capacity, with a deadline of October 29, 2008 for capacity available by December 2009.

On the new initiative, Joe Barra, director of customer energy resources, PGE said, “We see this as a way to help meet our customers’ need for reliable electricity, manage power costs, and reduce our impact on the environment.”

Customers who participate in demand response programmes typically receive some sort of incentive for reducing load on the system, while the utility benefits by having access to power at a lower cost than might be available on the wholesale market during peak periods.

Recently, while sharing its second quarter results, Peggy Fowler, CEO and president, PGE said that the utility is moving forward with its new smart-metering technology. Approximately 16,000 new meters are being installed as part of the project’s six-month systems testing phase, with the remaining meters to be installed by the end of 2010. PGE expects the smart-metering project to provide improved services as well as operational efficiencies and cost savings.

PGE’s net income for the six months ended June 30, 2008, was $67 million.

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